I’m afraid of three things, mainly: death, needles, and failure.
Death is a big one. I don’t know how anybody gets around it. When I think of death, I think of Philip Larkin’s poem Aubade, in which he writes:
This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels…
…Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
I don’t believe in Heaven. I believe that when people die, it’s over. So Larkin’s “courage is no good” resonates with me. It’s not about bravery, it’s about the extinction of a consciousness. That, as they say, is that.
Moving from the most rational fear to the most irrational: needles. This one is simpler. Somehow, some neuron or other got tangled up and saddled me with a phobia of needles. These devices of doctors, which diagnose and prevent and cure, scare me. It’s not the pain of being stuck – it’s the needle itself, somehow, absurdly.
Fortunately, this is one arena where courage can prevail. And there are other tricks as well. I prepare by looking at pictures and videos of injections, desensitizing myself. During the actual event, I hum Canon in D in my head.
I used to get so afraid that I’d become physically sick when I had to get blood drawn. Mostly, that doesn’t happen anymore. Progress.
And finally: failure.
Fear of failure is tied up with fear of death, in that I’m very aware of my limited time to succeed. I want to get stories and books published; I want to make an A.I. in some form; I want to be a good person, and a great person. I want these things because I wanted them as a child, and I refuse to give up on the childhood dreams. And so, failure haunts me.
I don’t want to die; but if I must, then I don’t want to die regretful.
Not sure why all that has been buzzing around in my head lately, but there we are.
What are you afraid of?
My glasses falling off when I look over the edge of something; which might be heights again.
One of my relatives is so afraid of heights, she refuses to fly.
In my experience (and no research at all went into this comment) those are two different things. I was in an office one day, and a guy came in to wash the windows. There he was, standing on the ledge, two straps holding him to the side of the building, the pavement far below, and when he climbed back in I made a comment like, “You wouldn’t get _me_ out there.”
Turned out he was terrified to fly. He’d gone up once, and never would again. And flying doesn’t bother me at all.
For some people they seem to be linked, and for others they’re different. For me they’re two different things as well.
Failure and death. I am really haunted by any perceived failure . . . which is why I really hated Calculus this year. There was no straightforward path to success, and a lot of the problems were a lot more difficult than I was used to, as well as requiring a lot more thinking and problem solving than Algebra-2, which was just plugging things into a formula. So the entire year through I have hated the feeling of failure that comes whenever I go to Calculus . . . Blasted mathematics! I curse thee!
“I am really haunted by any perceived failure” – this describes me perfectly. Don’t know why we’re wired that way, but we are.